The European Commission has formally recognized the adequacy of the data protection regime in New Zealand, making it the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to receive such recognition. The EU Justice Commissioner noted the importance of high standards of data protection in boosting international trade; the annual value of trade in goods and services between New Zealand and the EU is €6.7bn and €3.1bn respectively. “The decision should be helpful to New Zealand businesses that trade with Europe or hope to do so as it substantially simplifies compliance with data protection requirements,” said Assistant Privacy Commissioner Blaire Stewart. “Global interoperability of privacy regulation has the twin underlying goals of creating a trustworthy environment and avoiding unnecessary barriers to cross-border information flows.” Australia is the only other country with a formal agreement with the EU, however this is in respect of the transfer of Passenger Name Records (PNR) only. Personal data may now be transferred from EU and EEA countries to New Zealand without the requirements of any further safeguards. The Commission’s decision establishes that all New Zealand companies in all circumstances can meet those European requirements.